Category Archives: BUSINESS ENGLISH


10 Resources to Help You Improve Your English Pronunciation

Improve Your English Pronunciation Now!


Improve your English pronunciation with these resources and techniques:

The best and most effective way to improve your English pronunciation is to use your ears. That’s right. Listening well is the key to improving your English pronunciation. But who should you listen to? It depends on your goals. If your goal is to improve your pronunciation so that you sound like a native English person from the UK, you need to listen to native English person from the UK. If your goal is to improve your English pronunciation so you sound more like your teacher,  (whatever his or her English accent may be) then by all means you have to spend more time listening to your teacher. If you want an American accent, then listen to Americans. The idea is that you have to spend time listening to the speakers you would like to sound like.

In addition to listening, if you want to improve your English pronunciation, you also have to practice actually speaking and hearing yourself speak so it is a good idea to read aloud to yourself and tape record yourself as you speak. Keep in mind that good pronunciation will always mean speaking with clarity so that the listener understands perfectly what you say. No point in having the cutest accent in the world if you are not understood. Good pronunciation means that you are understood.

To avoid a gobbled sound when you speak, practice speaking as slowly as you can without being ridiculous. In other words, there is slow and then there is ridiculous. Avoid the latter.

You may want to invest some time watching videos on English pronunciation such as the INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET which gives you the rules for English pronunciation.

Below are 10 resources  ONLINE ARTICLES, PODCASTS, APPS, POEM and VIDEOS that should go a long way towards helping you improve your English pronunciation:

  1. Poem: The Chaos by Gerard Nolste Trenité
  2. Article: How to Improve your English Pronunciation in 8 Steps
  3. Article: The Sound of English: Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop – BBC Learning English
  4. Article: 8 Tongue Twisters to Improve English Pronunciation
  5. Article: English pronunciation practice for Arabic learners
  6. Podcast: English pronunciation podcasts
  7. App: Google Android English pronunciation app
  8. App: English Practice App – Engvarta
  9. Video: British Council English Pronunciation 
  10. Video: English Pronunciation Training

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english text message abbreviations meaning

English Text Message Abbreviations: 20 Text Abbreviations Business People Can Use (Good for Emails too) With Meanings

A List of Text Message Abbreviations and their Meaning


But what about these new forms of communication? # English Text Message Abbreviations.   What do all these signs and symbols mean??

In many cases, your guess is as good as mine. And the worse part is, they keep coming up with new ones every day! So it is hard to keep up. But I have mined the Internet to get some clarity on a few abbreviations that I have seen in correspondences between business people. These English text message abbreviations would only be appropriate if you already know the recipient and you have a fairly informal business relationship.  I don’t think text message abbreviations should ever be used in a formal context or in a formal email. Nor should English text message abbreviations be used when you don’t know the recipient very well. As I said, these can also be used in emails.




  1. 4YEO = For your eyes only

This is used to tell the recipient that the message or document should not be read by anyone by him or her.  It is confidential

2. BTW = By the Way

This has no definitive meaning really. It is really idiomatic.  A way to give additional information. For example, you say “By the way, I sent you the powerpoint yesterday.”   This means that in addition to what I just said, you should know that I also sent you the powerpoint.

3. B/C = Because

Obviously, because is a subordinating conjunction in English used to connect two distinct clause. “I left because it was difficult to get paid afterwards.”  You can also say “I left because of the difficulty of getting paid afterwards.” This latter would be using because with a prepositional phrase. But it is still two distinct clauses.

4. ASAP = As soon as possible

ASAP is used to tell the recipient that time is of the essence.

5. F2F = Face to Face

This is used I imagine to ask for a face to face meeting or explain that something has or has to happen face to face.

6. CYT = See you tomorrow

This one is self explanatory.

7. FC = Fingers crossed

This means that you are hoping that a situation will work out for the best.

8. B2B = Business to Business

This means that products and services are from one business to the other and not to consumers which would be B2C

9. IMHO = In my humble opinion

This is another way of saying “according to me” but of course in English, you never say “according to me” instead you say “in my opinion” or “in my humble opinion.”

10. RSVP = Repondez vous s’il vous plait

This is used to ask the recipient to respond to an invitation with an acceptance or rejection.

11. TBC = To be continued

To be continued means that the matter is not finished, there is more to come.

12. WTF = What the fuck

This means, “what?!” but in a vulgar way. So it is better not to use it in a business context unless the recipient has already used it and you know it will be OK.

13. YAM = Yet another meeting

This means the writer is fed up with having to go to “yet another meeting.” And thinks the meetings are not even necessary or productive.

14. ICYMI = in case you missed it

This is a gossipy abbreviation that means “let me bring you up to speed on what has been going on while you were gone.”

15. TQ = Thank you

This is self explanatory. You can also say TY

16. TGIF = Thank god it’s Friday

This means the sender is really happy the weekend has arrived

17. FYI = For your information

This means here is some information you ought to have or to know.

18. TBA = to be announced

This means that there is pending information which will be sent out to all who are concerned once it is available.

19. HF = Have fun

This is self explanatory. It tells the recipient to “enjoy themselves and have a good time.”

20. EOD = End of discussion

This means “the end.”

# English text message abbreviations meaning

NEXT: How to Begin and End a Business Email in English

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How to Use the AUXILIARY Verbs “Be”, “Do”, “Have”: Your English Will Never be Good Till You Know How to Use These!

BE, DO, HAVE: These Verbs are used as Main verbs and Auxiliary Verbs in English

In English, the verbs Be Do and Have can function as both MAIN VERBS and AUXILIARY VERBS. The problem for learners of English is that it is not always clear when to employ these verbs and in what context.


The verb “to be” helps to form the foundation of the English language. There almost is no English without the verb “to be.”  If you are not intimately familiar with how to use the verb “to be,” you can never claim to be fluent in English.

As a Main Verb

You can use Be as a main verb to express a state of being. For example: “I AM HAPPY.”

In this sentence, Be is the main verb. In this case it is the first person form of Be which is AM. Do you remember  how to conjugate BE? Below are 3 tenses of the verb “to be.” There at least 10 other tenses but that would be for another post:


I am                                   I was                                     I will

You are                            you were                            you will

He/she/it is                     he/she/it was                he/she/it will

We are                              We were                             We Will

They are                            They were                      They will


Note that to use BE as a main verb, it has to be either in the simple present tense or the simple past tense. For example: I AM HAPPY  becomes  I WAS HAPPY.  If you use the future tense I WILL BE HAPPY technically “will” is a modal verb which is an auxiliary or helping verb so in the future tense, it is difficult you cannot use BE as a main verb. It only seems to work in the present tense and the simple past tense. But consider, for example, this: YOU ARE TO ACT HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT. It  is still the main verb but with a modal (obligation) connotation – a kind of helper feel.

As an auxiliary verb

You can also use BE as an auxiliary and helping verb to show various verb tenses and moods such as: I AM SLEEPING. I WAS EATING. I WILL BE EATING IN A FEW MINUTES. Notice that as a helper or auxiliary verb, BE accompanies a main verb – in this case the verb is “to eat.”

Note that BE is followed by “ing” tenses when used as an auxiliary except if the PASSIVE TENSES are being used in which case you would use the past participle, example:  “The bird was eaten by the cat.” Or, “the baby is fed by it’s nanny.” Or, “The secretary is being yelled at by the client.


This verb is used both as a main verb and an auxiliary verb.

As a main verb


As an auxiliary verb

DO is used in several different ways.

  1. To show emphasis: I do believe you. I did believe you.
  2. To express a negative action: I do not know what you mean.
  3. To ask a question: Do you have a pen?

Notice that when used as  auxiliary verbs, DO IS FOLLOWED BY THE PRESENT or infinitive form of the verb (as opposed to “have” which is followed by the past participle)


As a main verb HAVE is used to express possession : I HAVE THREE SISTERS. THEY HAVE MONEY. AMERICA HAS A FUNNY PRESIDENT.

As an auxiliary verb you need have to:

  1. Ask a question in the perfect tense, example: “have you got any money?”
  2. To express a negative: “You have not done your homework”

More on English verbs you must know


end a business email in English

Ways to Start and End a Business Email in English


How you start and end an email in English will depend on the level of familiarity you have with the person you are writing to and whether this is a formal or informal email you are writing.  Indeed, the way you begin or end a business email in English should take into account your working relationship with this person. Have you worked together before? Have you already established rapport? Would you even say you are “colleagues” even if you have only communicated digitally? Or is this a situation where you have never met this person but are trying to build up a business relationship? Further, is this a perfect stranger you are writing to and don’t even know their name?

Each of these scenarios will influence how you begin and end a business email in English. Below, find 3 scenarios. The first is how to start a business email when you know the person. The second is when you don’t know the person but you do know their name and finally, the last one is when you have no idea what the person’s name is.

How to start and end a business email in English

I. Start a business Email when you know the person (for example a contact in another country named Timothy with whom you have been corresponding or working but you are not necessarily buddies) in any of the following ways:

  • Dear Timothy,
  • Good Morning Timothy,
  • Timothy,
  • Hi Timothy
  • Good day Timothy
  • Hello Timothy

End a business Email when you know the person (for example a contact in another country named Timothy with whom you have been corresponding or working but you are not necessarily buddies) in any of the following ways:

  • Best regards
  • Best wishes
  • Regards
  • Best
  • Kind regards
  • Take care



II. Start a business Email when you don’t know the person but you do know the person’s name – which happens to be Mary Smith – in any of the following ways:

  • Dear Ms Smith,
  • Mrs Smith,
  • Dear Ms M. Smith

End a business Email when you don’t know the person but you do know the person’s name in any of the following ways:

  • Sincerely
  • Very truly yours (especially good for lawyers)
  • Yours faithfully
  • Sincerely yours
  • With kind regards

III. Start a business  email when you don’t know the person and you don’t know the person’s name in any of the following ways:

  • Dear Sir/Madame
  • To Whom it may concern,
  • Madame,
  • Messieurs,
  • Gentlemen,
  • Dear All

End a business email when you don’t know the person and you don’t know the person’s name in any of the following ways:

  • Kind regards
  • Sincerely
  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours faithfully

Click link for the ABCs of Writing Business Emails in English

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There are probably thousands of English idioms for business presentations out there.  In this post, I select 17 for you to memorize and use in your business presentations, negotiations and even correspondences.

Without further ado, my list of idioms for business presentations:
  1. It’s in the bag: This is one of the nicest idiom for business negotiations but you can also use it in a presentation depending on what you are presenting on. It means that something is a “done deal”, it is guaranteed to happen. For example, let’s say your company has been negotiating with a new vender and your boss asks you how are negotiations going and whether you think the two parties will be able to make a deal? You can say “it’s in the bag.”
  2. They are on the fence: If you say that someone is on the fence it means that they are non-committal and are not clearly on one side or the other of an issue or negotiation. They are neither hot nor cold nor “yes” or “no” but sort of in the middle and “hedging their bets.”
  3. Strike two birds with one stone: This means that you can get achieve more more than one outcome and have a double impact from just the one action.
  4. Pass the buck: This means to shift blame to someone else and not take responsibility for an action.
  5. Pull the plug: To pull the plug means to end something like a negotiation because it is basically a hopeless cause. It is not unlike taking someone off a respirator and allowing them to die.
  6. Back to the drawing board: This means you have to start all over again to do something – including to start negotiations over again. You begin again at “square one.”
  7. It’s a long shot: This means that something is unlikely to happen or improbable. It is like taking a 3 point shot in a basketball game. It is long, but often times, it does work out.
  8. Down the drain: This means that there is failure or waste that results in a lot of effort coming to nothing. Imagine it being flushed down the toilet, for example.
  9. Across the board: This means that something includes everything and everyone. So for example, the management of the company fired all the supervisors across the board. It means everybody was put to the door.
  10. Ballpark amount: This means that a stated amount is an approximation that is near to the actual amount but not the exact amount requested. So far example, “ballpark $20,000” means close to $20,000 but not exactly $20,000. It could be a little bit more or a little bit less.
  11. Biggest Bang for the buck: This means the most benefit that can be received from an action, in comparison to your investment. So for example, if you say “which hotel gives you the biggest bang for the buck in your city” what you mean is which hotel gives you the most benefits for the least amount of money 
  12. Make a go of it: This means to give something a try.
  13. Strike while the iron is hot: This means to act while the other person is interested and showing a desire to make a deal.
  14. Sell like hot cakes: Something that sells like hot cakes is something that has a very high sales rate, a high demand.
  15. Long haul: If you are in something for the long haul it means you are there no matter what happens. In other words, you are committed and plan to stick it out no matter what.
  16. Set the record straight: This means to clear things up and let your side of the story or issue be known.
  17. Burn your bridges: This means to exit in a way that you cannot go back to a situation such as a relationship, negotiation or job.

As noted; there are many other idioms for business presentations  well as business negotiations. These are just a selected few. For more on idioms for business presentations click the link.

# idioms for business presentations




be confident when you speak in English

Be More Confident When You Speak in English


So you want to know how to be more confident when you  speak in English. The first step is to stop apologizing for your English. Don’t keep saying “my level of English is not so great” to your audience because they will see that as insecurity.

Even when your English level is “below fluency”, still, just imagine that you are very charming as you are speaking and that your audience is captivated by you and this thought alone will go a long way to helping you be more confident when you speak in English.

The second and very important thing you have to keep in mind is that you should speak at a reasonable speed. Do not try to speak fast to show how great your level is. Instead, focusing on pronouncing all your words and on clarity rather than perfection. It is better to speak slower and be clearer than to speak faster and be unclear. Why with the first approach your audience is more likely to understand what you are saying and they will remain attentive and this will give you confidence. But in the latter, they will not understand you and they will lose interest in what you are saying. So speak at the right speed and tempo.

Good preparation will go a long way to help you feel more confident. So even when your level of English is not so high, if you take the time to prepare properly and to anticipate your audience’s questions, you will seem more like the expert and the audience will give off the vibes that they are learning from you and that will make you feel more confident.

If you want to be more confident when you speak in English, you should also  avoid looking like you don’t know where you are in your presentation. Avoid having too many props and paper and slides. This can get overwhelming when you are nervous and this can kill your confidence.

Continue reading about how to be confident when you speak in English

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welcoming a visitor in English

Welcoming a Visitor in English to Your Country: Small Talk for Business People & Professionals


Do you have to meet a visitor soon and are wondering what are the rules for welcoming a visitor in English? Often times, you may be called upon to pick up someone at the airport and transport them to their hotel.  The drive from the car to the hotel could be a very short one as well as it could be relatively long. So you need to keep a conversation going. But often times, you will be meeting this person at your office, your home or even in the bar at their hotel.

If you are concerned about sounding like a “native” speaker with your English speaking guest, just get that out of your mind right now. You don’t have to sound like a native but you can sound more “natural” with a few key phrases and questions.


The Flight:  When welcoming a visitor in English to your country here are some questions you can ask about their flight:

  1. How was your flight?
  2. Was it a smooth flight?
  3. Did you have a good flight?
  4. Was the flight okay?
  5. How was your trip?
  6. Did you have any delays or was your flight on time?
  7. How long was your flight?
  8. Was your flight direct? Or did you have to transfer?
  9. Did you find your way here alright?
  10. Are you feeling jet lagged?
  11. How long are you staying?
  12. Did you have any trouble finding your luggage?
  13. Have you flown this airline before?
  14. Would you fly this airline again?

About general matters:

  1. Which hotel are you staying in?
  2. How long will you be staying?
  3. Can I offer you a drink?
  4. Would you like something to drink?
  5. Have you had anything to eat?
  6. Would you like to grab a bite to eat?
  7. Can I offer you a cup of tea?
  8. Any plans for sight-seeing?
  9. What’s on the agenda for the weekend?

About themselves: When welcoming a visitor in English to your country, you obviously need to ask them about themselves:

  1. So which part of the United States are you from?
  2. Have you always lived in this state?
  3. How long have you been with the company?
  4. Is this your first time representing your company in this country?
  5. Which region are you from?
  6. Your accent is interesting; can you tell me where your accent comes from?
  7. Do you have kids?
  8. Where are you currently based?
  9. how long have you been working in this industry?
  10. Are you interested in sports?
  11. Do you drink? What would you like?
  12. What Can get you?
  13. What do you like to do in your free time?
  14. Is this your first time here?
  15. How long are you here for?
  16. What kind of food/cuisine do you prefer?

About the weather: When welcoming a visitor in English to your country the weather is always a safe conversational topic:

  1. How is the weather where you are coming from?
  2. Do you mind the cold?
  3. You don’t mind the bad weather do you?
  4. How are you coping in the heat?
  5. Isn’t this weather just wonderful?
  6. Isn’t this weather just awful?
  7. Do you mind if I open the window to let in the fresh air?
  8. Is it cold enough for you?
  9. Is your coat warm enough?
  10. Would you prefer that i turned down the heat?
  11. Is it too hot for you?
  12. Is it too cold for you?

Current events: When welcoming a visitor to your country, current events can be a good topic of conversation but you should exercise discretion depending on the situation as this set of questions could have some controversy for some people

  1. What is the latest news on this story?
  2. What is the political situation back in your country?
  3. What is your opinion on your current president?
  4. Do you think your president will win again in the next election?
  5. Did you vote for Obama?
  6. Why do you think your president took that position?
  7. What is the latest on the crisis?
  8. Do you know if anyone survive?
  9. Were there hostages?
  10. Was it a terrorist act?

NEXT: How to do Business with Americans 

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Improve Your English Communication Skills With These 6 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts



  1. To improve your English quickly, focus on the tenses. Memorize the 12 basic ones which are (present simple, present continuous, past simple, past continuous, present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, futur simple, future continuous, present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous and future perfect continuous). Look for examples of all of these on the internet and practice making up your own examples. Focus on understanding why each one is used. Mastering this aspect will improve your English by about 70 percent.
  2. Listen in English. When someone is talking to you in English, focus on comprehension in English even if this is difficult. Do not try to translate in your mind into your own language then back into English. Train your brain to hear in English. This method may mean you only understand 10 percent of what is said initially but if you practice “hearing in English” without trying to translate into your own language this will go a long way to helping you to improve more quickly.
  3. Speak slowly at first. As you speak, think in English about what you are saying to make sure you have all the parts that are needed in the sentence. English sentences always need a subject and verb. Except for exclamations which can be one word like: Wow! Damn! Oye! What?! No! (Note that a sentence such as Stop! has a subject and verb even if it is just one word. In this case, the subject is implied. The subject is “you” so it is as if you said “You stop!)
  4. Read aloud in English. This will help you to hear yourself which somehow helps you to improve your vocabulary, grammar and writing skills. If you tape yourself as you read aloud, that is even better.
  5. Be shameless about making mistakes. You can’t expect to speak perfect English in one year or even two. Think about it, how long did it take you to learn your own native language? Have you mastered your own language? Do you know every single grammar rule and every single vocabulary word in your language? Probably not. You will never know English perfectly but then again, neither will native English speakers. So don’t be afraid to mess up. When you give yourself the freedom to make mistakes, you actually learn a lot faster.
  6. Finally, to improve your English quickly, keep a word journal. Try to learn one new English word per day. You can probably find a word of the day app which helps to facilitate this objective. Jot the word in your journal every day and review constantly.

For additional tips, read 10 Ways to Learn English FAST





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do business with Americans

How to “Do Business” with Americans when you are Arab in the Middle East (Hint: Polish your English!)


So you are Arab and you want to do business with Americans. To that end, you are researching tips and strategies for a successful business interaction. As far as Middle Eastern business etiquette is concerned, there are a lot of cultural mine fields to avoid. Usually, it is the foreigner who falls into the troughs since they are the ones who are usually jetting off to the Middle East to do business with people in these regions rather than the other way around.

A lot of articles have been written about how foreigners, especially Americans should act when doing business with Arabs in the Middle East.

This article takes the opposite approach to talk about what Arabs need to consider when doing business with Americas so that the transactions have a higher likelihood of success.

First of all, it is a good idea to polish up your English only because most Americans don’t speak Arabic fluently if at all and while more will speak some French, they will be infinitely more comfortable communicating in English. While English proficiency in the gulf states have seen dramatic improvements over the years, it is still a good idea to try to improve as much as you can so that you will be in a stronger position and to reduce any chances of miscommunication.

The other thing to keep in mind about Americans is that a lot of the stereotypical images and perceptions of Americans are just that, stereotypes. Avoid making racist, sexist or even political jokes with American business people because you just never know how the person will respond. Some stereotypical jokes and comments are openly and glaringly offensive. Others could be more subtle. A rule of thumb is, if you have any doubts this comment could be misconstrued, don’t say it.

Third thing: Americans like to make deals. They are dealmakers and they want to close the deal whenever possible. Sometimes that could mean they seem pushy or even rude and insensitive to your cultural norms. This is not necessarily intentional. They are just more than likely eager to close. They are closers. So try not to take their “pushiness” as an insult to you. Give them the benefit of the doubt when possible but of course, if the situation is just egregious, it is certain you will find a way to communicate that to the offender.

Fourth, when you do business with Americans, you have to understand that for a lot of Americans, they are perhaps not as culturally sensitive to Middle East culture as they could be. This is changing as people in business understand the importance of understanding and respecting cultural norms. But even something as simple as understanding when your prayer times are, could be an issue. But it is not meant to insult your traditions and culture. It is just for the American, normally, the weekend starts on Friday and ends Sunday night. For many Arabs, doing business on Friday afternoon and Saturday is impossible. To avoid any conflicts, you should be very clear up front about your schedule and availabilities with your American associates so they know ahead of time what the situation is.

Americans can be a bit last minute and more “play it by ear” than people in the Middle East who like to have things planned out as far in advance as possible. In other words, Americans are more spontaneous perhaps than Arabs in the Middle East. Again, this is not meant to be rude but of course, where necessary you have to just let the person know your limits rather than holding it against the person and refusing to do business or even thinking the person is rude and inconsiderate.

Drinking is obviously not fabulously respected in the Arab countries whereas for a lot of American business people it is common to do business over drinks. Hopefully by now most people from the West who do business in the Middle East understand this basic cultural nuance and it should not be a problem under most circumstances but if there is a faux pas on occasion just politely decline the drink rather than let yourself feel insulted.

So to recap, there are many cultural differences between Americans and Arabs. When Arabs do business with Americans there are a few things they need to keep in mind so that the communications run smoothly and most of all, they can facilitate their own experience by working on improving their English.

If you would like to commit to regular conversation in English for Arabic speakers with an American teacher, contact us at




  1. How are you? How is your family?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. What is the weather like where you are?
  4. What is your area of expertise?
  5. Where did you go to university?
  6. What makes you nervous as a business person? What makes you feel insulted?
  7. Can you tell me about one of your most memorable experiences as a business person?
  8. How many times have you felt like your business deal could have been better if you had negotiated differently?
  9. Have you ever had a business deal fall through? What did you learn from the experience?
  10. Have you ever been to America? What did you think?
  11. How often do you typically travel for business? And where do you typically travel to?
  12. Who are the toughest negotiators in your view? Where are they from and what makes them so tough?
  13. If you disagree with a potential business partner on an issue, how do you typically voice your disagreement?
  14. When you have a strong opinion about a topic, how do you express it?
  15. Why did you go into this line of business?
  16. Who do you admire and why? (dead or alive)
  17. What is the thing you MUST accomplish before you die?
  18. What do you think about Trump?
  19. What makes a deal a good deal?
  20. Do you believe in this notion of “win win” or do you think it is okay to negotiate for winner takes all? What is your usual strategy?

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English for Arabic speakers

ENGLISH FOR ARABIC SPEAKERS: Dubai, UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, more…

English for Arabic Speakers: Are you an Arabic speaker in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, UAE or another country in the Middle East Who would like to have regular English conversation with American teachers?

Our course for Arabic Speakers is offered telephonically or online and is focused principally on speaking and conversation. The student will practice responding to certain questions in English and will participate in discussions of various subjects chosen by the teacher (or the student).

ELG’s English for Arabic Speakers course focuses on cultural awareness, news bites, social issues and other topics of discussion that is fun and interesting for the student.

If you are interested in an English for Arabic Speakers conversation course do contact us at


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Chinese or Mandarin? Check out our offer for Chinese and Mandarin speakers who want to learn English